Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fresh Whole Fruit Won't Make You Fat.

Thingspeoplesay @ Etsy
Something alarmed me in the Sunday papers this weekend – an article that condemned fruit as a dietary evil. Now I know there's been a backlash against sugar recently, but fruit – seriously? My mum has a rockin' bod for her 52 years. And she eats fruit. A lot of fruit. She's living, breathing proof  that fruit alone won't make you fat. So I was so glad to read that nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan was equally alarmed....
First up it’s nonsense to talk about sugar as being the root of all our health problems. We cannot talk about sugar as a singular compound in the same way that we can’t lump fat together, or carbs for that matter. Sugars are simply the single or double saccharides that are found in foods, mostly plant foods.

One sugar, glucose, is also what runs in our bloodstream as a key fuel for the body. The brain in particular uses about a quarter of the total body’s glucose use, despite being only two percent of the total body weight.

Glucose in the blood is vital… if it drops too low you would pass out and eventually die if glucose could not be ‘found’. It’s worth remembering that when we talk about sugar. We need it as a prime fuel in the body, along with fat. So what about sugar in foods?

Well there is no doubt that excess added sugars are contributing to obesity and many chronic health problems we face in this country. But added refined sugars are not the same as sugars naturally present in foods. In interpreting them as so we are making all the same mistakes we made when we entered the low fat era. We opted for low fat foods and forgot about healthy fats and whole foods.

With the proposition that fruits are bad because they contain sugar, we are doing the same thing. Sugars in fruit are bound up in cell walls along with fibre, nutrients and phytochemicals including antioxidants. Our bodies have to work fairly hard to break these cells down, release the nutrients and sugars and then absorb them. This is a very different scenario to eating a lolly or drinking a soft drink – a dose of sugar without any nutrients or fibre whatsoever. To put them in the same basket is quite frankly ludicrous.

Fruit juice is not the same as fruit – it's all the sugar with none of the fibre-y good stuff. Dried fruit is not the same as fruit – it's shrivelled up, sweet and easy to overconsume. But a full green apple? That's not responsible for this country's obesity epidemic. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Here Comes Trouble... Avoiding The Office Feeder.

The Daily Clog
You know the story: You bring salad for lunch and fill your desk drawer with healthy snacks and it's all going swimmingly... until your Office Feeder comes over with cookies she baked last night, or half a Cherry Ripe she doesn't want to finish. You don't want to be rude, so the only thing to do is say thanks and take it off her hands, right? Wrong.

This week I've realised that this is where I come unstuck. I bring healthy food to work for myself, but rarely is there a day when someone in the office hasn't baked, or there's a birthday, or someone's selling chocolates for charity. And. I. Can't. Say. No.

It's hard, but I'm going to have to learn – because all this additional snacking is doing my health no favours. So for the next week, it's "no" to anything but the pre-arraged food I've given myself license on munch on. 

The Daily Mail has some handy hints, too...
  • Keep healthy food in view: Professor Brian Wansink says you eat what you can see, so if the office feeder comes in with cakes and biscuits, make sure your celery sticks and carrots are within view on your desk.
  • Don't throw away wrappers: Studies have shown that keeping empty chocolate wrappers or crisp bags on your desk can act as a deterrent to eating more  -  it gives a tangible reminder of what you have previously consumed.
  • Put it away: If the office feeder hands out biscuits and insists you take one, get into the habit of removing it from reach immediately. Put it, unopened, in your bag, or lock it away in a drawer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Running With A Heartrate Monitor.

RS100 Heartrate Monitor, $159 @ Polar Australia
It's the start of our seven-week countdown to Christmas and for day one, I decided to whip out the heartrate monitor. If you've never used one before, it's a nifty little gadget that straps on around your chest (invisible under a sports bra) and feeds your heart-rate info to you in a very profesh-looking watch. It's great for keeping track of exactly how hard you're working – whether you really are pushing your body as hard as it will go – and it keeps a very honest count of just how many calories you're burning. 
Weight loss is always going to come down to a simple equation – what you're putting in needs to be less than what your putting out – so it's well worth knowing just how much that sweat session has burned up. I don't use mine every time I work out – I find it becomes too intense as I'm constantly trying to one-up my last session (competitive, me?) – but it's a great tool to use to check your progress and give you a little reality check. I used it this morning and shaved a minute off my run. I don't quite know how but it seems knowing all my results will be there in black and white at the end of the run makes me move that much faster. We're off to a good start, folks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Exactly Seven Weeks Til Christmas...

Christmas... It's the most wonderful time of the year. But before I go crazy, eating my weight in turkey and champagne and pudding, I'm going to try and get myself feeling fabulous for the festive season – so, come December 26, I'm not weighing in five kilos over my usual digits with a belly that could rival Saint Nick's. My aim? To eat healthier (for the main part) and introduce some new components into my training regime. I'll keep you updated here on how I go – what I'm doing, what's working and what's not. Come with me, if you want... Sometimes it's easier with a friend.